Sunday, 13 April 2008


Road conditions in this remote, rural area have a huge impact on our lives, even though we only drive to town once a week (usually). Whenever we see a road crew at work, we appreciate their efforts (even when they make us stop). We roll the window down, have a friendly word or two with the flagman while waiting to proceed, I pull out my knitting to pass the time and we all keep an interested eye on the Big Work Underway. (I may remember running late for an appointment and growing a teensy tiny wee bit agitated when stopping for roadwork, at least once....)

Our part of the country is called "dry open sclerophyll forest" and the trees don't provide generous shade. Queensland also has the highest rate in the world for skin cancer. Workers on a bitumen road cope with many hot days (unless it's raining).

We headed into town one week and encountered a Road Crew flagman who waved us on through. We proceeded cautiously as we wanted to rubberneck, curious to see what roadwork improvements they had completed. Very tidy it looked, we nodded to each other in agreement. Then we blinked in surprise, seeing that first piece of RoadArt, on the embankment. No project of Main Roads, that! We grew strangely excited as we drove along and spotted others, some on one side of the road, some on the other. I think we counted 20-25 sculptures. What did they mean? Who built them?

We went back a few days later to photograph as many of the RoadArtworks as we could. Some were already knocked down. We asked around, no one knows for sure who the artist was. Someone with humour. Someone strong and agile. Someone with a sense of place. Someone with an appreciation for the stackable flat planes of fractured red earth stones. Rumour has it that a Kiwi on the RoadCrew created these artworks during his breaks.

The RoadArt didn't survive more than a few weeks. Like sand castles at the seaside, they didn't last. I keep learning: Create because of an internal urge. Partake in acts of shaping and witness falls into disorder. Consider these natural aspects of the ebb and flow of energy. Find joy in the Making.

M in JaM


Diana Troldahl said...

Wow... that looks so much like what Canadians call inukshuks. Originally inukshuks were built to represent the figure of a man, but often these days you find them as markers out in the wild, showing good camping places and things.

BTW The image you took of the fence join has been in my mind ever since I saw it. I loved it. I grew up out in the countryside here in Michigan. I hope we win the lottery and I can get a 4-wheeling wheelchair some day. I would love to go looking for Michigan specific images like that to share :-}

Elizabeth said...

they have those in american southwest to mark the trail. i can't remember the name right now, but i'm sure i'll wake up in the middle of the night remembering... very cool.